You’ve probably never heard of Spring Meadow Nursery, a great company in beautiful Western Michigan, but I bet you’ve heard of some of their plants: ‘Limelight’ hydrangea, Sugar Tip rose of Sharon, Pinky Winky hydrangea, Blue Chiffon rose of Sharon (shown here), Incrediball hydrangea, Bloomerang lilac, Quick Fire hydrangea, and Summer Wine ninebark are a few of the shrubby garden superstars they’re responsible for introducing.
I went on a tour of their nursery over the weekend and I’ve come home even more excited about using flowering shrubs in the garden. Want more color in your landscape? These plants make it easy! Try growing a sun-loving Limelight hydrangea as a small tree next to your deck, creating a hedge of rose of Sharon for privacy, or including a flowering quince in your cutting garden.
Incorporate compact shrubs in your perennial beds so you have winter structure and an extra season of interest. Amethyst coral berry (Symphoricarpos), for example offers pinky-purple fruits in fall; Arctic Sun redtwig dogwood bears bold reddish stems in winter; and Snow Day Surprise pearlbush (Exochorda) bursts into bloom in early spring. All dwarf (5 feet tall or less) so they’ll fit right in among purple coneflower, Joe Pye weed, and hollyhock.
I know a lot of garders who like to separate their plants — perennials go in this bed, shrubs over there, and the like. But don’t be afraid to mix and match to create wonderful combinations!
BTW: If you have a great perennial/shrub combo, I’d love to see it! Post it here!